UK warns over terror attacks during Easter holiday

The United Kingdom is warning citizens living in or travelling to Nigeria to remain vigilant as “there is a high threat of terrorist attack during religious festivals” such as the upcoming Easter holiday.

In an updated travel advisory published online Thursday, the Foreign Office urged citizens to “exercise particular vigilance and caution” during the religious holiday as radical sect Boko Haram has been known to strike on religious holidays, including the series of attacks on Christmas Day last year that claimed over 40 lives.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including government and security institutions, international organisations as well as public areas such as markets, hotels, shopping centres, places of worship and other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.”

Major cities in the north, including Kano and Maiduguri have reportedly shored up security measures to protect against possible attacks, even as the Nigerian army issued a warning this week of a possible terrorist attack in Kano.

The warning was released on Wednesday after Army spokesman, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the arrest of three suspected Boko Haram members who had allegedly killed a soldier at a checkpoint in Kano.

Iweha, who paraded the bodies od the dead suspects at the Bukanu Baracks late Wednesday afternoon, said two AK 47 rifles, two pistols and other weapons had been recovered from the suspects’ car.

The JTF spokesman warned Nigerians to be cautious during the holiday, warning a deadly violent strike could be in the horizon in the holiday season.

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen open fire in Maiduguri market, kill 7

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen have killed seven people at the popular Maiduguri Monday market on Wednesday, police and eye witnesses said.

According to reports, the armed insurgents stormed the market, one of the largest in the northeastern state, at about 2 p.m. and targeted an area of the market where southern traders operate.

Witnesses to the attack say the gunmen first shot and killed an electronic salesman before targeting other Igbo traders, the AP reported.

“They opened fire on some shops selling insecticides and mosquito nets, killing seven traders,” he said, adding that no arrests had been made,” state police commissioner Bala Hassan said.

“The shooting caused confusion in the market, which gave the attackers the chance to escape unnoticed before the arrival of security personnel,” he said.

Guard soldiers in the area opened fire, shooting in the air, in order to disperse civilians, but they were unable to stop the assailants from escaping.

Samuel Tizhe, state police spokesman also confirmed the attacks, adding that “three other civilians also sustained injury during the attack at Monday Market”.

He added that calm has been restored to the area and said authorities “have reinforced security in and around the state”.

Authorities said weapons were recovered following the attack and said the area has been cordoned off while police conduct a thorough search of the area.

No arrests have been made yet, but security officials have assured investigations are ongoing.

Sect gunmen kill secret police officer in Maiduguri

Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect have gunned down a secret police officer, the Associated Press reported.

The officer was killed on Monday, authorities confirmed in the Borno State capital city of Maiduguri. Witnesses of the attack said the State Security Service officer had been killed while he was getting his haircut.

Ahmed Abdullahi, the head of State Security Service in Borno state, confirmed the killing Monday, the AP reported.

The sect has claimed responsibility for a number of major attacks targeting security and police agencies. Over 300 people have been killed in sect-related violence this year alone, including over 185 killed in multiple bomb blasts in Kano.

Four killed as members of Boko Haram rob a bank in Borno

Suspected members of the dreaded Islamist sect, Boko Haram on Friday killed four people when they robbed a bank and stormed a police station in Borno state, a government official said.

Gunmen killed two people during a raid on a UBA branch in Askira town in the early hours before attacking the local police station, where an officer and a civilian were shot dead.

Gunmen killed two people during a raid on a UBA branch in Askira town in the early hours before attacking the local police station, where an officer and a civilian were shot dead, local government spokesman Malam Yuthama said.

The strikes come less than two days after suspected sect members freed 14 people in a prison break in neighbouring Yobe state and attacked a nearby police station.

According to the Yobe state police spokesman, three members of Boko Haram died during those attacks.

Boko Haram have been unrelenting in its low level violent campaign against President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration. A brief flirtation with peace talks collapsed at the beginning of last week.

Months of gun and bomb attacks blamed on the sect have killed hundreds since it launched an uprising more than two years ago to try to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria.

Nigerian forces have been carrying out house-to-house searches this week in the sect’s home town of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Similar crackdowns in the past have pushed attacks into neighbouring states, including Yobe.

One of Boko Haram’s primary demands is that its members are freed from prison. While the government has refused any releases there have been several jail breaks in the northeast in the last year.

Police offers N1 million reward for information on Boko Haram

A cash reward of N1 million for individuals and groups that provide “useful information” that could lead to the arrest of suspected Boko Haram members has been announced by the Nigerian Police Force.

The cash reward which is one of the force’s renewed efforts to end the Boko Haram killings and bombings in Borno State extends to information being provided to the police for arrest and recovery of arms and ammunition in the state.

Spokesman of the Borno State Police Command, Samuel Tizhe, who said this in a statement in Maiduguri assured members of the public that any information provided will be treated with utmost confidentiality to ensure peace and tranquility.

Boko Haram sect reportedly kill father of arrested spokesman

Father of alleged Boko Haram spokesman, Abu Qaqa, was reportedly killed in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, by suspected sect members.

The purported sect’s spokesman, who was arrested in February by the State Security Service in Kaduna, has remained in SSS custody.

The Boko Haram sect has repeatedly denied that the man in custody is the sect’s spokesman; however, security officials insist they have the right man in custody.

Qaqa’s father, said to be a retired prison warder, was murdered alongside a former colleague on Monday evening as they prepared for prayers in Maiduguri, heartland of the sect.

A security official, speaking on the basis of anonymity as he was not authorised to release information, confirmed to the Associated Press that one of the murdered victims was infact the father of the suspected Boko Haram spokesman.

Gun runner arrested in Maiduguri

A suspected gun runner was arrested in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and site of several deadly sect-related violent outbursts. The state’s Police Command said on Monday the ammunitions dealer had been picked up by authorities in Mangumeri local government area of the state.

Mr Samuel Tizhe, the Public Relations Officer of the command in Maiduguri said intelligence gathered during an investigation led to the arrest of the suspect, identified as Mallam Bello Abdullahi.

Tizhe said Mallam Abdullahi had been in possession of “two AK 47 rifles and eight magazines” at the time of his arrest.

“The suspect also had 117 ammunition in his possession,” Tizhe said, adding that investigations are still ongoing and authorities were closing in on some of his accomplices.

“We have begun manhunt for the other members of the gang and investigation is already on-going in the case,” Tizhe said.

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram kill four in Maiduguri

At least four people were killed over the weekend in separate attacks by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect, in their heartland of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital city.

According to reports, a woman and her 10-year-old child were shot dead on Saturday night when gunmen suspected to be members of the sect barged into their residence in Zannari on the outskirts of town.

The attack happened at about 8:30 p.m. and resident said the gunmen also shot and killed another unidentified man. They fled the scene of the crime, leaving their victims in a pool of blood, reports said.

Another wave of attacks followed on Sunday when sect gunmen killed a trader at the popular Gamboru market in the city.

Buyers and sellers alike scampered to safety when the gunmen entered into the market and opened fire at random. A trader was killed in the Sunday attacks.

Police spokeswoman in Maiduguri confirmed the killings to BBC Hausa service, according to reports.

Military kills suspected Boko Haram members trying to burn school in Maiduguri

Nigeria’s military says it foiled an arson attack on a public primary school in Maiduguri, killing three suspected members of the Boko Haram sect who were caught in the act.

Military spokesman Lt. Colonel Hassan Ifijeh Mohammed confirmed the killings on Monday, the Associated Press reports, adding that his men had killed three members of the sect as well as arresting two others who were arrested.

The failed arson attempt is the latest in a series of school burnings attributed to the Boko Haram sect.

Seven schools in th region have been set ablaze in recent weeks in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and heartland of the sect. The attacks have often happened at night.

Gunshots were heard in the early hours of Monday morning in the city, the AP reported.

The attacks on schools by the Boko Haram, whose name in Hausa language means “Western education is prohibited, has kept many pupils out of schools in Maiduguri.

Teachers of affected schools who spoke to the press say parents are keeping their children at home and out of school.

Bomb factory explodes in Maiduguri, 3 sect members killed

An explosion at a bomb factory on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, has left three suspected members of the Boko Haram sect dead, security officials confirmed.

According to reports, an Improvised Explosive Device exploded in a building located in the Akaleri ward of the London Ciki area around 10:30 a.m. this morning; residents were thrown into panic and scampered to safety.

Charred blasted remains of the sect members were strewn about the site of the explosion and undetonated devices were also found there.

Spokesman of the Joint Military Taskforce (JTF), Lt. Colonel Hassan Mohammad, conducted journalist around the site of the blast. He said the sect members had robbed residents in the community, using stolen funds to erect the building which they turned into a bomb making factory.

Col. Victor Ebhaleme, the Field Commander of the JTF also confirmed the explosions alerted the task force when it happened.

“On arrival, our men discovered mutilated bodies of three persons,” he said, adding that they had “died while preparing bombs”.

The JTF boss urged residents to stay on alert and offer up any useful information of suspicious activities that will aid security forces in bring terrorism to an end.

Borno’s governor pleas for Corp members

The governor of Borno state, Kassim Shettima has made a plea for corp members to be posted to the state as he gave the assurance that the state is now peaceful.

Mr Shettima made the plea at a meeting with the Minister of Youth and development in Abuja on Thursday where he appealed for the posting of youth corps members to his state. The federal government suspended the posting of graduates for the mandatory, one year National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) to Borno and Yobe states in 2011 following persistent deadly attacks launched by the fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram.

While making the appeal, Mr Shettima gave the assurance that “some level of peace has returned to the state after months of insecurity caused by members of the Boko Haram sect.
He noted that the state government will come up with measures on how to generate jobs for its youths to curb the rate of crime.

The Minster of Youth and development, Bolaji Abdullahi promised to review its decision on the non-mobilization of the nation’s youth to the state.